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50 Champion rear axle bearing service

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  • 50 Champion rear axle bearing service

    My latest problem/opportunity has to do with the rear axle on my Champion. I am replacing the rear brakes. I got the rear drums off after much effort with a puller. While I'm in there, I would like to service the rear axle bearings, but I don't have room in my garage to pull the axles all the way out, nor do I have access to a tool to measure the end play in the axle. The bearings aren't making noise, nor do the wheels feel rough when rotated. My father-in-law suggests that I should simply squirt some grease into the bearing with a needle fitting, and not worry about it until it makes noise.
    Alternatively, is it possible to extract the bearing in one piece without using the axle to push it out? This would be the ideal time to take off the brake backing plate (before I replace the brakes), if that helps me to get at the bearing. Any good advice or even half-baked ideas are welcome.

    50 Champion
    1/2 of a 56 TransStar
    Holdrege NE
    John
    1950 Champion
    W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
    Holdrege NE

  • #2
    Take a close look at the outside of the axle housing, behind the backing plates. At least the 44 axles a few years newer had threaded plugs facing the rear of the car that could be removed and replaced with threaded Zerks, this would allow you to pump grease in with a grease gun. Make sure you clean off the axle tube real well though, there is a vent hole at the top of the housing at each end where the grease comes out when the bearing is full, real easy for that to get plugged up with road grit and you don't want to be pumping grease into your rear brakes.

    If you do find the plugs, just replace them with Zerks, grease (with the hub ON - the hub is the sealing surface for the outer grease seal) the bearings, then put the plugs back in because you don't necessarily want the quicky-lube guy to hit them again at every oil change.

    good luck

    nate

    --
    55 Commander Starlight
    http://members.cox.net/njnagel
    --
    55 Commander Starlight
    http://members.cox.net/njnagel

    Comment


    • #3
      Nate
      Thanks for the tip! If those plugs are there, that should simplify the process a lot. I will start scrubbing my rear end (and the car's rear axle), looking for plugs and vents.


      50 Champion
      1/2 of a 56 Trans Star
      Holdrege NE
      John
      1950 Champion
      W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
      Holdrege NE

      Comment


      • #4
        Nate
        You rock! The plugs and vents were just where you told me they would be. That greatly simplifies the job at hand. I wonder why the Studebaker shop manual doesn't mention the plugs or the vents? I suppose it may be as you mentioned, that they didn't want people to replace the plugs with grease zerks and squirt them full of chassis lube. Should I turn the axles while I'm greasing these bearings? Any thoughts about that? Anyway, thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

        1950 Champion
        1/2 of 1956 TransStar
        Holdrege NE
        John
        1950 Champion
        W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
        Holdrege NE

        Comment

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